The Centennial wrestling team had a down season results-wise, but coach Brian Knisley believes better days are ahead for his young squad, which gained valuable experience on the mat this winter.
The Stars' season ended when they didn't have anyone place in a Division II sectional Feb. 28 and 29 at Licking Valley. They tied South for seventh (79) in the City League tournament Feb. 22 at home behind champion Walnut Ridge (202).
Knisley said the Stars' youth and inexperience showed throughout the season, so results didn't matter as much as the time they spent competing and learning.
"We definitely were a young team," he said. "We have more underclassmen than we do upperclassmen. Inexperience played a factor in (our season)."
Knisley, however, was satisfied with his athletes' efforts, and that helped build a solid foundation for the seasons ahead.
"I think we did really well. My main goal was to get these guys mat time, and almost everyone had close to 30 matches," Knisley said. "That's a lot of wrestling. You can't get that type of action in the wrestling room. The more matches you get the more experience you're going to have, so that's definitely going to pay off for next year."
Sophomores Alvin Forte (160 pounds, 31-13) and Oliver Koehler (113, 21-17) were among the team's bright spots. Both of them placed second in their respective weight classes in the City tournament.
"We're really looking for big things out of those two guys next year," Knisley said.
Five other wrestlers placed in the City event. Seniors Kyle Hicks (152, 20-20) and Maurice Lemons (170, 15-13) both placed fourth.
Freshman Brenden Focht (145, 5-29) placed fifth, and junior Jake Barnes (heavyweight, 6-18) and freshman Dellen Welcome (220, 8-32) both placed sixth.
The Stars also featured two girls wrestlers, both of whom competed in the inaugural girls state tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Davidson. Sophomore Hamdi Osman (120, 9-31) went 2-2 at state, and freshman Elena Fabregas (145, 3-29) went 1-2.
"The ladies did awesome at the state tournament. "Knisley said. "They have worked hard all year long. It would have been so easy for them to give up and quit with the little to no success against the males, but they didn't. I hope to see more (girls) join the team next year."